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American Idol Recap: Candice Glover, Amber Holcomb Earn Standing Os As Top 10 Take On Past Idols

American Idol season 12 top 10 – FOX

American Idol season 12’s first theme night was a tough one for the top 10 finalists. It forced them into doing something many never want Idol hopeful to do: perform songs by or performed by past Idol winners. It just begs Idol bloggers and viewers to make unfair comparisons. (Hey, they begged us to do it, so we did. Just read on.)

Luckily, some of the contestants had performances on the same level of their past Idol inspirations (Angie Miller and Kree Harrison) or, in one rare case, totally surpassed ‘em (Candice-effing-Glover!). (We don’t exactly co-sign the overpraise from the judges — Keith Urban, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, and Mariah Carey — but Amber Holcomb also had a big, standing O-grabbing night with her closing performance.)

Read on for our rundown of how the top 10 did:

Curtis Finch, Jr. – I Believe: Of course Curtis took on Fantasia. No-brainer! But something about his performance didn’t connect. When Fantasia did “I Believe” you had no choice but to believe her. Every bit of her soul poured out in those lyrics. Curtis, on the other hand, seemed to be forcing those moments. It felt dry and unnatural…until the ending note. That was fab. The judges’ reactions were mixed. “You’ve got so much personality and you look great tonight,” Keith said. “A couple things were great…but I would caution you to now try something a little different,” Randy added. Mariah totally disagreed with Randy, saying, “I wanna hear more of that gospel tinge…that’s what I feel from you…please keep doing what you do.”

Janelle Arthur – Gone: Janelle was inspired by Scotty McCreery for her song choice. But honey has nothing on Scotty. Hell, she has nothing on any country singer who has ever touched the Idol stage. She’s probably the weakest of them all. Shame. She’s uber adorable, though. “The song that you sang last week suited your voice better,” Nicki said. “I’m never a thousand percent about your song choices.” “The song didn’t lead anywhere,” Randy said. “It’s good to see you perform and work the stage…but I didn’t love that song for you.” “Your aura was giving us star,” Mariah said. But she agreed about the song choice. “I’d love to hear you do a ballad.”

Devin Velez – Temporary Home: Devin’s take on Carrie Underwood’s tear-jerker was just waaay too sleepy. And then he hit that bad note at the end!? No thank you! “That was not one of your better performances,” Keith said, before chalking it up to song choice. “Wow, that is so crazy,” Nicki said to Keith. “To me, this is you,” she told Devin. “I loved the song with your voice.” “I thought it was way too safe,” Randy said. “We expect so much from you because you’re just that good,” Mariah said.

Angie Miller – I Surrender: It’s hard to do a song better than Kelly Clarkson, but Angie surely did a good ass job trying. She sounded amazing and looked every better. “I think you knocked it out of the park tonight,” Keith said. “You are just perfection to me on every level,” Nicki gushed. Mariah summed it up with one word: “Stellar.”

Paul Jolley – Amazed: Another Scotty-inspired number. Another snoozer. Boring, but we will say that this one definitely one of Paul’s better performances. Keith would say the same thing. “That was one of your better performances,” he said.

Candice Glover – I (Who Have Nothing): You wanna talk about amazing? Now, Candice was a-freaking-mazing! Inspired by Jordin Sparks’ breakout moment, Candice took “I (Who Have Nothing)” up a few billion notches with an electrifying R&B/almost gospel-kissed rendition. It was perfection personified! And earned her a standing O from the judges. “GOSH. I love you so much,” Keith said. “It would be in everyone’s best interest to never ever perform that song again…you just destroyed and annihilated,” Nicki said. “You really worked that song out. This was one of the greatest performances on the show this season,” swooned Randy. “A singer of your caliber can do anything,” Mariah closed the praise fest with.

Lazaro Arbos – Breakaway: Kelly Clarkson was the inspiration again as Lazaro performed her hit single. It didn’t fly. While it was definitely better than both of his performances last week, it was painfully boring. We’d hate to see Lazaro get stuck in this humdrum box. He’s better than this. “This was probably my least favorite from you, babe,” Nicki said. “It was a little all over the place…that song is way too big for you,” Randy said.

Kree Harrison – Crying: It was a Carrie-inspired tune for Kree. And it was the perfect song choice. Kree’s voice has the perfect balance of delicateness and power. Her range is spectacular and we got the to see it all on beautiful display in that performance. Nobody explained it better than Nicki: “Sometimes when I wake up everyday, like sometimes, when I’m not working, I’ll eat waffles. And, um, like buttermilk waffles. And I’ll have to have, like, Aunt Jemima buttermilk syrup on it. And it’s like I’ll toast it, but then — I never burn it — I’ll put it in the microwave and warm it up a little bit. And that’s what that performance felt like to me. It was smooth, it was delicious, it was just fun.” O………….K.

Burnell Taylor – Flying Without Wings: It was so nice to see that someone remembered Ruben Studdard. It was also nice to see Burnell take on the Velvet Teddy Bear’s big ballad. He did a great job adding his special touches to make it his own. “Very nice, man,” Randy said. “This kid believes…vindicated for the boys tonight!”

Amber Holcomb – A Moment Like This: Surprise, surprise. Another Kelly song. Amber closed out the night with Kelly’s very first single, the schmaltzy ballad “A Moment Like This.” She employed a hefty helping of diva dramatics — big notes, flowing gown, wind machine — and it all worked to the tune of a standing ovation and a huge comparison.”That was the best performance of the night,” Nicki said. “Your voice and your aura reminds me of Whitney Houston’s first album.”

Predictions: It’s a tough one, but we think the bottom three will be Paul Jolley, Devin Velez and (hopefully) Janelle Arthur. Paul will probably say bye-bye.

Results are tonight! Also performances by Bon Jovi and Phillip Phillips!

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